Dr Connal Parsley awarded £1.25M for Future Leaders Fellowship project

UKRI card of Dr Connal Parsley

Dr Connal Parsley, Senior Lecturer and interdisciplinary legal theorist, has won a prestigious UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship (FLF) award for his project: ‘The Future of Good Decisions: An Evolutionary Approach to Human-AI Government Administrative Decision-Making’. Dr Parsley is one of only 84 research leaders in the country to receive this accolade.

The substantial sum of money – and long-term support provided to Connal – will enable him to conduct transformative research into the study of the normative qualities of evolving techno-social ecologies, and experiment with them using ‘prefigurative’ creative research methods, to identify new ways for humans and AI to make good administrative decisions.

The impetus for this research was born out of a response to the impasse between algorithmic decision-making systems and core values of the rule of law, like fairness and transparency.

Connal hopes to reframe current debates on the nature of law in light of the changes brought by algorithmic agents, by connecting them to broader questions about value in evolving social systems. The FLF will allow him to find creative ways to evaluate new technologies, and translate that into concrete strategies to improve participatory deliberative governance.

On becoming a Fellow, Dr Parsley said: “It’s life-changing. It will give me the time, training and resources to pursue a complex, urgent problem in the deeply interdisciplinary and collaborative way that is required. Often, theoretical humanities-based work in law is seen as less ‘fundable’, but the FLF acknowledges the longer-term potential of highly original, field-opening scholarship.”

Dr Parsley’s project will contribute to society by drawing on the reflective wisdom of the humanities, social sciences and creative practice, at a time when governance institutions are undergoing rapid change from new technologies. He hopes to inform the way that the law and practice of administrative decision-making respond to this crucial moment in the history of humanity’s relation to technology.

Read the News Centre’s recent FLF announcement on the University’s website.